Through its support of creative placemaking, the Mortimer & Mimi Levitt Foundation empow- ers communities across the country to revitalize underused public spaces through free live music, including the development of permanent outdoor Levitt music venues, each providing 50 free, professional concerts to the community every year.
Levitt venues—each managed, programmed and supported by a Friends of Levitt nonprofit organization—share a common mission to strengthen the social fabric of their communities by invigorating community life and bringing people together of all ages and backgrounds.
Commissioned by the Levitt Foundation and led by Slover Linett Audience Research, this multi-year (2013–2016), mixed-method study was designed to explore whether and how Levitt music venues are bringing about change in communities and the mechanisms by which they affect individual concertgoers and the broader community. The new study sought to examine the social impact of these venues and to further the dialogue on how to measure the outcomes and impact of creative placemaking interventions.
A multi-modal study to explore how the venues are bringing about observed changes and whether they are creating social impact.
Implications for the Field
In creative placemaking, programming is as important as place in providing a compelling and communal experience for participants.
For music providers in particular, a venue’s programming can communicate subtle but important messages regarding who might feel welcome.
The physical and logistical attributes of a creative placemaking project will guide how people participate in, and how they benefit from, the experience.
Communicating explicitly about a project’s community-building goals with participants and residents can help to engage them as informal ambassadors.
The history and sociology of the community in which the creative placemaking project takes place, and the specific site that is chosen, will profoundly inform the way the project unfolds.
Partnership, coordination, and collaboration are essential creative placemaking skills and key to ensuring that the placemaking project remains community-driven.
There isn’t a “one size fits all” method of assessing the success of creative placemaking projects. Project-specific assessment reveals insights that would not be reached through an indicators approach alone.